Caspian Weekly Roundup
TAP Completes Onshore Portion in Albania
The onshore portion of the Albanian section of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is nearly complete. The Albanian section of TAP is approximately 213 kilometers of overland pipeline and 37 kilometers of offshore pipeline. The offshore portion will run beneath the Adriatic Sea and land in southern Italy. TAP is part of the Southern Gas Corridor project that will bring approximately 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Azeri gas to Europe annually while supplying an additional 6 bcm per year to Turkey. Initial gas deliveries to Turkey began in June. Europe will receive its first imports by 2020. Construction on TAP began in 2016 and is expected to be complete by the end of this year. TAP’s total cost is approximately USD$5.3 billion, and the Albania section accounts for USD$1.75 billion.
First Gas from Absheron Field to be Received in 2020
The first gas from the Absheron field is planned to be received in the third quarter of 2020, according to Total, the French energy giant and operator of the field. The first phase of development is ongoing. The drilling of the first development began in February 2018 and is expected to be complete by mid-2019. The first gas is planned to be delivered by the third quarter of 2020. The first phase includes the drilling of one well at a sea depth of 450 meters. The expected production is 1.5 bcm of gas and 700,000 tons of condensate per year which will be used in Azerbaijan’s domestic market. At the second stage, it is expected to produce up to 4 bcm per year. SOCAR and Total signed an agreement in 2016 on the contractual and commercial principles regulating the program of the first phase development of Absheron. The joint venture project is evenly split with SOCAR and Total both owning 50 percent.
SOFAZ Announces Revenues from Azerbaijan’s Biggest Oil Project
The Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) block of oil and gas fields in Azerbaijan’s portion of the Caspian Sea brought in approximately USD$135.142 billion to the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) since the beginning of 2001 to September 1, 2018. The contract for the development of the ACG fields was signed in 1994. A new agreement on the development of the ACG until 2050 was signed on September 14, 2017. The equity participation in the project is as follows: BP (operator) – 30,37 percent, AzACG (SOCAR) – 25%, Chevron – 9.57 percent, INPEX – 9.31 percent, Equinor – 7.27%, ExxonMobil – 6.79 percent, TP – 5.73 percent, ITOCHU – 3.65%, ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) is 2.31%.
Turkey Launches Spot Natural Gas Trade System
EPİAŞ, Energy Stock Exchange Istanbul, launched its spot natural gas trade system on the energy stock exchange on September 1. The software system allows natural gas trading via an electronic platform. Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said during the opening ceremony that the new software system will bring competition, diversification, and high quality to the natural gas market. The spot system will determine the natural gas prices for the “day-ahead” market. The price will be determined by matching offers from suppliers with corresponding bids from market players to develop a price. Participants will be able to trade at least 1,000 cubic meters of gas per day.
Kashagan Offshore Field Produces 17.5 Million Tons of Oil
Kazakhstan’s Kashagan offshore field produced 17.5 million tons since the resumption of production in 2016, Kazinform reported. Developed by North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC), the Kashagan field has produced 17.5 million ton of oil since production resumed in 2016. The Managing Director of NCOC Bruno Jardin reported that all the crude has been delivered to the world markets. In addition to oil, over 5 bcm of gas have been produced. Kashagan is one of the largest oil field discovered in recent decades, with reserves estimated at 9-13 billion barrels of oil.
Hungary and Uzbekistan Join the 6th Summit of Turkic Countries
Uzbekistan joined the summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (Turkic Council) for the first time in seventeen years. Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev took part in the summit on September 3 in Bishkek. Hungary adopted Observer status in 2014, making this their first Summit as well. The summit also housed leaders from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan.
Russia Launches Missile Interceptor from Kazakhstan
The Russian Ministry of Defense announced another successful test of an interceptor missile from Kazakhstan’s Sary-Shagan test site on Thursday. The missile “successfully performed its task and hit the simulated target with the specified precision,” according to Deputy Commander of the Air and Missile Defense of the Aerospace Forces Andrey Prikhodko. The Ministry had announced successful tests in April and July as well, also from Sary-Shagan.
Azerbaijan’s Air Defense Forces Conduct Special Training
Azeri Air Defense Forces are holding special tactical training, the Azeri Defense Ministry announced on Monday. Battalions of the S-300 Air Defense Missile Systems will march to position and then practice changing equipment and camouflaging new starting positions. At the same time, Azerbaijan is holding annual joint flight and tactical exercises with Turkey’s Air Force. Two MiG-29 fighters and three Su-25 attack aircraft arrived at Konya airbase to being the drills, which will last until September 14th.
Russia Moves Naval Power to the Mediterranean
Twenty-six combat vessels from the Northern, Baltic, and Black Sea Fleets and the Caspian Flotilla have been redeployed off the coast of Syria to conduct a drill of historic proportions. This is the largest naval presence Russia has had in the region since the start of the conflict. The move is meant to deter the U.S. from intervening in Idlib, where Syrian rebels are supposedly planning to stage a chemical attack and blame it on the Syrian government, according to Kremlin spokesperson Maria Zakharova.
Russia to Continue Contributing to the Settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
During the meet in Sochi on September 1, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and his Azerbaijani counterpart, President Ilham Aliyev, exchanged their views on international and regional issues. In particular, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been discussed. President Putin announced Russia’s intention to continue seeking a solution to Nagorno-Karabakh’s crisis. He promised that as a co-chairman of Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Russia “will continue to provide every possible assistance to the peaceful settlement of the conflict.”
Putin will participate in the Plenary Session of Eastern Economic Forum
Russian President Vladimir Putin and leaders of the Asia-Pacific region (APR) countries will attend the plenary session of the 4th Eastern Economic Forum. President of China Xi Jinping, the head of Mongolia Haltmaagiin Battulga, the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea Lee Nak Yong will also participate in the event. The leaders plan to discuss the key topics of international cooperation between the Russian Federation and the countries of the Asia-Pacific region. The Eastern Economic Forum will take place in Vladivostok on September 11-13.
Reps of U.S. State Department for Economic Affairs to Arrive in Baku
The Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) in partnership with the Centre for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communications of Azerbaijan has organized a forum on competitiveness issues in Baku (Azerbaijan Competitiveness Forum – ACF-2018), the Head of the Azexport.az portal Zaur Gardashov told Trend Sept. 4. Gardashov noted that the participation of about 20 U.S. companies in the forum, which will be held in Baku on September 6-7, is expected. The US delegation will also include representatives of the State Department for economic affairs.
Afghan and Iranian Officials Call for Closer Economic Ties
Muhammad Dawood Sultanzoy, a senior advisor to the president of Afghanistan, and the secretary of Iran’s High Council of Free Trade Zones explored ways to enhance bilateral economic ties. During a recent meeting in Tehran, Sultanzoy and Morteza Bank agreed to boost mutual economic and transit cooperation in a bid to link Afghanistan to other countries through the Indian Ocean, the port of Chabahar, and the high seas, IRIB news agency reported on September 3. Sultanzoy described the political ties between Tehran and Kabul as very good, calling for the development of relations in the fields of industry, transit, tourism, and banking and financial services.
(Sources: AIF, Azer News, Caspian News, CBS News, Daily Sabah, Inform.Kz, Kabar, Mena.Fn, News.Az, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, TASS, Trend News Agency.)